Some of the biggest delays and confusion when organising custom branded apparel is around artwork and in particular logos and logo quality.
People often ask:
Do I need a graphic designer?
Will our logo be suitable for embroidery?
What are the different file types and what do you need?
We will try and answer all of the above here and pass on a little of our knowledge.
When we are talking digital/soft copy logos (those on the computer!) there is two ways to think about how they have been put together - Raster vs Vector. Raster images are made up of pixels which is the smallest point of the logo. If you open a raster file and zoom in really close it may start to blur and if you continue to zoom you will see tiny squares. Vector on the other hand is made from math. The lines of the drawing/logo are created using mathematical equations so when you zoom it always looks the same. Hence, when you enlarge a raster file it can become quite blurry but a vector will always remain high quality. This is why vector artwork is required for digital and sublimation printing. At times if a logo has an extremely high pixel count we can accept non-vector, but this is an exception rather than the rule.
The process of converting to a vector file can be very time consuming especially if the original file is low quality. It is always the preference of the printer or apparel company to be given vector files otherwise they may need to charge to convert. Common Vector file types are .AI, .EPS and .PDF (vector PDF) some raster files are .jpg and .png.
To avoid being charged extra design or setup fees we strongly encourage clubs to store these so that they have them handy when moving suppliers. There are some online programs that convert logos to vector, but they are only for simple logos and will not have the accuracy of being “traced and redrawn” by a graphic designer.
Embroidery files are separate to the above and are based on the embroidery machine being used (Examples include .dst .emb .ess). This is where the logo file is “digitized” into a stitch file which will tell the sewing machine how to form the logo and how many stitches to sew. It is a complex process and takes significant skill to get the right balance of quality and stitch count. All logos need to be digitized to be embroidered.
As you can see from above there is a complexity that goes into logo types. So when providing logos to your supplier it is important to always remember what you put in is what you get out!